“When the only time you see Hufanga in the secondary is him coming up with an interception, that usually means the defense is playing lights out. He showed up around the line of scrimmage a handful of times, including a backfield screen stop. And he made up for a missed interception earlier with an incredible interception return in the fourth quarter that he tried to lateral to Tashaun Gipson Sr.”
“But the seriousness with which the 49ers took their season opener, on the road, against a team that won six of its last seven games last season, was significant. They walked all over a Steelers team — in a 30-7 smothering — that came into the season with an abundance of hype. That franchise hasn’t had a losing record in the 17 years Mike Tomlin has been at the helm.”
“When Bosa says the 49ers have a really good team, you know it means that the 49ers know they can be great and should be great. And when he says the 49ers have many players, he means they have great players. A lot of them.
Almost nothing is significant and lasting from anything that happens in the opening weekend of the NFL season, but the 49ers traveling across the country and stomping every bit of the Steelers to open up the 2023 season meant something. Maybe it won’t last. Maybe it was just one weird game. Maybe Purdy and the 49ers’ offense will play much worse the rest of the season and maybe the 49ers’ defense can’t keep this up.
But why would you argue against what we saw on Sunday? If anything, the 49ers can play better — the right side of the offensive line got whomped by T.J. Watt (three sacks and a forced fumble), Deebo Samuel and George Kittle weren’t involved much in the offense, the defense missed a couple of takeaway opportunities, and the 49ers still won going away in a tough road stadium.
If anything, the 49ers might be even scarier to the rest of the league than what they showed on Sunday. I think the rest of the league, once they see highlights or just feel the rumble, will understand this.”
“How brutal was this beatdown? With 1:33 left in the first half, San Francisco led 20-0 and had outgained its hosts by a total of 233 yards to 1 — roughly the ratio of bars to vegan restaurants in Pittsburgh.
At that point, it was all over but the obligatory blaring of Styx’s “Renegade” during a selected second-half timeout. Alas, the stadium PA operator chose not to play it at all.
“We didn’t get f------ ‘Renegade! ’” Juszczyk complained afterward. “I’ve been telling guys about it all week. It’s the best thing in the NFL. Major letdown.””
“This was a difficult assignment to go on the road and face the Steelers, but the 49ers made it look easy, as it appeared as if they were playing at a speed the Steelers simply could not match.
Still, there are many things for the 49ers to clean up, including penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 85 yards on the day.”
“He’s taken this whole offseason as good as you can as a quarterback being injured,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s done everything he can to come back and he handles the pressure well and he really doesn’t change. I think that’s why the guys love him and I think that’s why he will continue to get better.”
“Purdy looked exactly like he did at the end of 2022, completing 66 percent of his throws with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a nifty 18-yard run in the fourth quarter that ended any notion of a Steelers comeback. The San Francisco 49ers, who won 30-7, have yet to lose a game he’s both begun and finished.”
“At one point,” Williams said, “you just kind of wanted (the Steelers) to get a first down. There were all those three-and-outs and we kind of needed a break.”
“There was an emphasis on past seasons us coming out with slow starts,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “We knew we needed to come in and set the tone right from the jump. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Across the board, we did exactly what we wanted to do.”
Well, not exactly: Williams, their huffing and puffing 12-year veteran, really wanted some longer breaks.”
“McCaffrey’s score came on a play called “19 structure fool,” a staple of the 49ers offense under Shanahan, which features zone-blocking schemes.
“The structure is as basic as it gets,” Juszczyk said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re in nickel or if they’re in base. Everybody just blocks the guy that’s in front of them. It’s true zone.”
Basic concepts aren’t necessarily easy, though — especially in Shanahan’s offense, which demands atypical athleticism and effort from its blockers. Several 49ers faced difficult assignments to make this play sing.”